Sample text for An outline of European architecture / Nikolaus Pevsner.


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THE GREEK TEMPLE is the most perfect example ever achieved of architecture finding its fulfilment in bodily beauty. Its interior mattered infinitely less than its exterior. The colonnade all round conceals where the entrance lies. The faithful did not enter it and spend hours of communication with the Divine in it, as they do in a church. Our Western conception of space would have been just as unintelligible to a man of Pericles's age as our religion. It is the plastic shape of the temple that tells, placed before us with a physical presence more intense, more alive than that of any later building. The isolation of the Parthenon or the temples of Paestum, clearly disconnected from the ground on which they stand, the columns with their resilient curves, strong enough to carry without too much visible effort the weight of the architraves, the sculptured friezes and sculptured pediments - there is something consummately human in all this, life in the brightest lights of nature and mind: nothing harrowing, nothing problematic and obscure, nothing blurred.



Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Architecture -- Europe -- History.